Group 2 - Childhood mates
South Australia's Nic and Rocco are on a mission to prove Italian boys can cook.
While it's customary for Italian women to take charge in the kitchen, these boys are keen to shake things up. “Traditionally Italian women stay home and cook in the kitchen and raise the family,” Rocco says. “But Nic and I want to break that stereotypical mould.”
Nic, 26, and Rocco, 29, are life-long friends who grew up and still live on the same street in Adelaide's Penfold's Winery estate. “We had a fun childhood growing up together,” Nic says.
Rocco adds: “We were always running around the neighborhood, getting into trouble.”
When they weren't getting up to mischief, they were busy learning all they know about cooking from their mothers. “My mum Cathie is the one who taught me how to cook,” Nic says.
Rocco adds: “My mum Franca is my big inspiration. I learnt all I know from her and just mucking around the kitchen with Nic.”
The boys would take turns trying to outshine each other in the kitchen. “From a young age, we used to get a cook book and find the hardest recipe and try and outdo each other all the time,” Nic says.
They may share a passion for food but their approach to cooking is completely different. “I am a perfectionist in the kitchen,” Rocco says. “Nic just likes to chuck everything in a bowl, no measurements.”
Nic adds: “I like to cook by taste. Rocco's perfectionism kills me. Everything has to be done the Rocco way.”
But don't let their bickering fool you into thinking they don't get along. “We're both hard headed,” Rocco says. “I think it's our culture. We argue. That's just the way we communicate.”
Builder Nic and Rocco, who works in finance, admit their cooking skills are a plus when it comes to the ladies.
“Most girls are impressed when they hear what we like cooking,” says single Rocco.
Nic, who has a girlfriend of six years named Jess, adds: “I like to cook for her. I find it gives me a few brownie points.”
They describe their cooking style as traditional Italian but with a modern twist. Their idols are South Australian father and son chefs Peter and Chris Jarmer. “They're very creative and what they cook is always perfect,” Nic says.
Like any good team, they balance each other's strengths. While Rocco's speciality is dessert, Nic excels in savoury. “We work well as a team together,” Nic says. “Rocco does more desserts and I do the main and entrée. We split our tasks up and work off each other.”
Rocco adds: “We like to have fun. And the important thing when you're cooking is to have a good time. We want to show Australia cooking isn't a chore. It's actually fun and not hard.”
They've got their sights set on becoming the first all-male team to win My Kitchen Rules. “Rocco and I came into this competition because we're very confident of each other's abilities,” Nic says. “We definitely have what it takes to win.
We're not here to make up the numbers. We really want to prove a point.”